Nieul-sur-l'Autise abbey: the two Eleanor, the rebellious abbot

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The cloister - ©Selbymay / CC-BY-SA The cloister - ©Selbymay / CC-BY-SA
Nieul-sur-l'Autise abbey Abbey Robbery Eleanor of Aquitaine Augustinian

Water everywhere!

Lord of Vouvant Ayraud Gassedener founded Saint-Vincent abbey in 1068 in Nieul, on the banks of river Autise. The first monks who settled here started to clean the marais Poitevin.

Monks from Nieul joined monks from Maillezais, l’Absie, St-Maixent and St-Michel-de-l’Herm to create the ″Five Abbots’ canal″. They had to empty waters of the marshes Langon and Vouillé towards the river Sèvre... And the famous marais Poitevin was born!

Count of Poitou Guillaume VI raised the first buildings in the abbey. Then, war of Religion destroyed them, and Prosper Mérimée saved it in the 19th century...

Eleanor of Aquitaine and Nieul

The two Eleanor

Aénor de Châtellerault loved Nieul abbey… so much, she was buried here in 1130. Aénor? Yes, count of Poitou Guillaume X’s wife, mother of the famous Eleanor of Aquitaine! Besides, the tradition says this one was born in Nieul-sur-l’Autise in 1122…

And guess who was Aénor’s mum? Dangerosa de L’Isle-Bouchard… the mistress of count Guillaume IX, Aénor’s father-in-law and Eleanor’s grand-father!

The queen’s visit

King of France Louis VII, Eleanor’s first husband (the second one was Henri II of England), raised Saint-Vincent to a royal abbey in 1141: this day, he came with his pretty wife, to pray under his mother-in-law’s grave. Eleanor was a young lady, about 19 only, dressed in her crimson dress, who quickly wiped away a tear from her eyes...

She finally came back in her native land, after all this time, acclaimed by people coming to see the pretty queen of France… It was a hot summer day, but Eleanor was cold. Maybe she felt soon, the wheel would turned?

The rebellious abbot

In the middle of the 15th century, we have in the abbey the abbot Alain Drouard. A Breton! A rebellious and tough chap, who didn’t care and delegated: finally, no one said Masses and the church started to deteriorate…

A period chronicler even said: ″He hit someone with a big knife; he robbed and plundered people of the area.″ Yes, and the abbey was completely damaged during war of Religion...


And also!